If America Doesn’t Want You Dead

I’m a lot of things: the baddest bitch, the realest nigga,
    a child of god, a lordless land, black,
my grandma’s prayer-gifted lungs, barely more than smoke, a little
    planet of chaotic orbit, a
versatile bottom, a believer in the gospel of house shoes and
    screen doors, the last man
spinning on the dance floor, an awful child, the king of blunts and
    homo-thugs, rightful heir
of my mother’s last dream; I’m the hope of the people, I’m what’s
    wrong with black folks,
I’m a lot of things but they all alive. I’m alive & somebody mad
    about it. Being black and not
dead is a radical act. If me saying that upsets you or annoys you,
    you may kindly excuse
yourself from this poem. I got a lot to say that I shouldn’t have to,
    like I matter. I dream in
questions like How would history be different if white folks had
    just stayed home? I wake up
and think How many brown people were killed here so black
    people could be killed here? I
shouldn’t have to say why the confederate flag is a symbol of hate
    & oppression. I shouldn’t
have to say why the same is true for the American one. I’m a lot of
    things: American, an
unpatriotic one, one that won’t leave cause where else?, one that
    can’t stay here cause what
else will they think to do to bodies like mine? Last election I voted
    for my shadow, my
blackest friend. I’m the president of my own shit. I’m the secretary
    of being a boss. I’m too
fly for racism but that troll follows me around like the secret
    service. White privilege is a
secret service. If me talking about white privilege bothers you,
    your mama. I got 10,000
things to do but first I’d like a nap. 10,000 of those things are to
    get free. In college a
professor asked us What is freedom to you? I remember someone
    said Love, someone else
said The destruction of capitalism. I said I’m having a party this
    weekend complete with
booze, spades, bachata, boys kissing boys, and Beyoncé jams & if
    America doesn’t want you
dead, you can’t come.


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Essential Reading, an anthology of works that inform, inspire, question, and call us into action, from Narrative authors.


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